Category Archives: #amreading


The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, since 1976, is one of the most honored literary project in America – including Highest Honors from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Each year they welcome up to six nominations (print or online) from little magazine and small book press editors throughout the world. The nominations may be any combination of poetry, short stories, essays, memoirs or stand-alone excerpts from novels. The Pushcart Prize is one of the last surviving literary co-ops from the 60’s and 70’s.

For the year of 2021

From Space & Time magazine

“The Ghost, the Goat and the Robot” by Mariah Montoya (Spring, 140 Space & Time)

“And I Have Served” by Alina Maciuca (Spring, 140 Space & Time)

“The Hum of the Wheel, the Clack of the Wheel” by K.G. Anderson (Spring, 140 Space & Time)

“Substance” by Blaise Langlois (Spring, 140 Space & Time)

“A Walk in the Woods” by Pete Kelly (Spring, 140 Space & Time)

“haiku” by Scheila Scheffler (Spring, 140 Space & Time)

From Yuriko Publishing

“Beyond Shouting Hill” by Lee Murray (Tortured Willows: Bowed. Bent. Unbroken)

“Cheongsam” by Lee Murray (Tortured Willows: Bowed. Bent. Unbroken)

“When the Girls Began to Fall” by Geneve Flynn (Tortured Willows: Bowed. Bent. Unbroken)

“Abridged” by Geneve Flynn (Tortured Willows: Bowed. Bent. Unbroken)

“Conversations with the Dead 1928” by Christina Sng (Tortured Willows: Bowed. Bent. Unbroken)

“Conversations with the Dead 2028” by Christina Sng (Tortured Willows: Bowed. Bent. Unbroken)

For the year of 2020

“interference” by Leonard Speiser (Winter 139, Space & Time magazine)

“I Fear the Trees” by James Harris (Winter 139, Space & Time magazine)

“The Skin Least Taken” by Willow Dawn Becker (Winter 139, Space & Time magazine)

“Lovely Ludwig Van” by Alessandro Manzetti (Winter 139, Space & Time magazine)

“Explorer” by Lee Murray (Winter 139, Space & Time magazine)

“Bitten” by Cindy O’Quinn (Winter 139, Space & Time magazine)

For the year of 2019

“A Farewell to Worms” by Jon Linwood Grant (Autumn 134, Space & Time magazine)

“A Glass Darkly” by Ian Rogers (Autumn 134, Space & Time magazine)

“Hands of a Toolmaker” by Eric Del Carlo (Winter 135, Space & Time magazine)

“Looking Into My Bone” by John Reinhart (Winter 135, Space & Time magazine)

“Crimson Faces” by Maxwell I. Gold (Winter 135, Space & Time magazine)

“Reticence-Reticências” by Luiz Peters (Winter 135, Space & Time magazine)


Shadow Atlas: Dark Landscapes of the Americas is now available and this book is incredible… the loveliest book I’ve even been published in. Chupacabra approves everything about this book. I’ll be showing it off and reading my poem this Saturday during Cake & Hyperbull… and there will be a giveaways (but not of Shadow Atlas yet).

Truly a work of art, congratulations to the Hex publishing team for an extraordinary job. Reviews are starting to come in, and the praise is glowing. Here are just a few gems:

“Dead serious in its horror, yet delightful and inviting in its design and conceit, Shadow Atlas is a rare, beguiling treat, a collective fantasy with teeth, vision, and grounded in urgent, ancient truths.” – BookLife Reviews (BookLife section of Publishers Weekly)

“Think The DaVinci Code or Indiana Jones, but with more literary force, as it comments on mortals, immortals, and the intersection of worlds which holds them.” – Midwest Book Reviews

“A host of sublime writers and settings create an entertainingly macabre collection.”– Kirkus Reviews


Horror Tree just shared their list of Indie Bookshelf CHARITY Releases and there are some fantastic looking books here including some I hadn’t seen yet. I was also pretty excited to see Giving the Devil His Due included, the charity anthology I contributed a story for. All proceeds go to the Pixel Project which seeks to end violence against women.

There are 14 books listed in all. Every book supports a different charity and all were published by small and indie press. Good reading for a good cause… what’s not to love?

Check the list out for yourself:


Edited by Stephanie M. Wytovich, the Horror Writers Associations presents their eighth annual Poetry Showcase, featuring the best in never-before-published dark verse. Edited by Stephanie M. Wytovich with judges Sara Tantlinger and myself, this year features the first Crystal Lake Poetry Contest winner, poems from Cynthia Pelayo, Lindy Ryan, Sarah Read, Alicia Hilton, Corrine De Winter, Sumiko Saulson, Querus Abuttu, Carina Bissett, Lee Murray and many more poems from the talented members of the Horror Writers Association. Cover artwork by Robert Cabeen. I’m excited to have the honor of editing the next two volumes in this series.

Thank you to Stephanie for putting together this incredible collection and Sara for judging with me. Now Available in Print and on Kindle here.


Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency

One of the interesting articles I read this week was from Kristin Nelson, founder of the Nelson Literary Agency. Titled “14 Reasons Agenting Is Harder Now Than 20 Years Ago,” she brings up some really interesting points from an agent’s point of view that I’ve never considered.

One of the points I found most surprising was email. As I work to bring my own inbox under control this week, I was surprised to read that agents struggle with bloated inbox too. You won’t hear me whining about it anymore. Where I receive maybe 20-30 emails a day, Kristin gets 300. “Three hundred emails is a light day… The pace of business is simply faster now with immediate responses often necessary,” she says.

Not that I ever wanted to be an agent, but that alone would deter me. It also really makes me want to hug an agent. Great piece to see what’s going on in from a different POV, you can read it all here.


In my book mail this week: The Parasite and Other Tales of Terror by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (available here). This is a release from the Haunted Library of Horror Classics, a line of reissued classic horror literature books from over the past 250 years. From Poisoned Pen Press and The Horror Writers Association (HWA) these books are recognized as literary masterpieces of their era.

Today they are remembered only through distorted theatrical or movie versions, have been relegated to academic study, or have otherwise been nearly forgotten entirely. Series editors Eric J. Guignard and Leslie S. Klinger now bring back these seminal titles of the genre, making them easily available to modern readers.

I grew up reading classics but most of these I’ve never read. Over the next year I’m going to try to work through this list, starting with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle… I thought I read all his works but I think I may have missed this one. Thank you to the HWA, Poisoned Pen and Eric J. Guignard and Leslie S. Klinger for bringing these back.

Check out the complete collection here. What book will you choose?


Happy birthday to one of my favorite writers of all time—Neil Gaiman. I first discovered him with The Sandman comics. Death was my role model, Morpheus was my crush. Those books taught me how to be a person.

I got to hear him speak in person back in 2018. It’s impossible to pick a favorite Gaiman book, but Stardust, Coraline, American Gods and all The Sandman graphic novels would be on that list. Short post, because I’m going to celebrate Neil’s special day with him—maybe The Graveyard Boys. What are your favorite Gaiman books? Here’s a list in case you need refreshing.

It’s also Jack Ketchum’s birthday but that makes me sad. Jack/Dallas passed away in 2018. I was lucky to have gotten to meet him a few times. He was one of the first to welcome me into the horror community as I bummed cigarettes off him and we talked about cats. He was impossible not to like, even if I could never finish The Girl Next Door. No fault of the writing, the subject matter is one I avoid. RIP Jack…

And speaking of passing away, Neil Gaiman is currently on a mission to prompt writers to make sure they have wills. It’s a morbid topic to be sure, but when has that ever stopped me? You can read Neil’s take on the importance of wills for writers, and download a sample will here.

And in case you haven’t seen the new Sandman trailer… you’re welcome.


The Last Sakura: Tales of the Yuta by Ashley Nakanishi is not my normal reading material but I’m glad I picked it up. The reason for my interest came from the reference to yuta. A yuta is an Okinawan medium, which figured heavily into the research I was digging through with for Tortured Willows.

If I did need anymore convincing to read a YA, how could I resist any book that features the hajichi—Okinawan hand tattoos—featured so prominently on the cover? Hajichi are a cultural practice by Okinawan women that has been all but stamped out because of cultural oppression. I plan to get hajichi myself one day when we are no longer in lockdown. To see the tattoos featured so beautifully, I was hooked.

This is a cute story about a girl named Kiko and her sister who are packed up and sent to live with their obaa in Okinawa after their mother dies. The text is rich with cultural reference and while the yuta “magic” is really ramped up with some Hollywood-grade special effects, on the whole I not only enjoyed the story but learned some things from it. There are some good messages here for younger readers about anger, guilt, regret, forgiveness and the importance of culture.

The illustrations by Toni Silva add a lot to this book. I probably spent as much time studying the illustrations as I did reading the text. Humorous and clever, The Last Sakura: Tales of the Yuta is a pleasure to read and look at. Definitely worth it. Parents looking for a different type of “witch” book for teens with some true cultural value can find it here.

Find it on Amazon here.


Thanks to the rise of self publishing, there is a fresh gig opportunity. Chances are that if you are an editor, you are already doing it. It’s called book coaching and it’s a holistic approach to publishing that covers the entire process from edits and content organization to agents.

I came across this idea sometime in the summer through the Author Accelerator accreditation program so of course I bought the book: Read Books All Day & Get Paid For It by Jennie Nash.

This is one of those texts that I have on Kindle and paperback, I enrolled in the class and if there was a T-shirt, I would buy it. An excellent book for the writerly inclined that addresses the business end of book coaching. Jennie covers the tough topics like setting a price, putting value on your time, scheduling, contracts… I think you could probably start a well organized coaching business from just reading this book.

Jennie’s approach to the topic is warm and professional. There is a lot of information packed in the book but no where did I feel overwhelmed by dry details. Her voice is engaging, informative and helpful. There is enough here to benefit anyone in the writing industry with services, but it is specifically addressing those that want to be accredited as trained book coaches in fiction and/or nonfiction with opportunities to specialize in a niche like memoirs.

I am in the course right now in the nonfiction tract and I will probably include the memoir specialization. I decided to take this course because story and book coaching is what I spend a good deal of my time doing anyways, just for free. Unfortunately, that started eclipsing my own writing so my big interest in taking this course is learning to manage a business, set boundaries and streamline the process. I’m 15% through the class and I know I made the right choice.

If you are thinking you might like to get serious and organized about your own author services, I highly recommend this book. If you think you might like to be a book coach, definitely read it so you know all that’s involved. You can find Read Books All Day & Get Paid For It by Jennie Nash on Amazon here. If you’re interested in looking at the Author Accelerator program, you can find that here.

*I paid for all copies of the book out of my own pocket to review. Book links may be affiliate links.


Congratulations to the SavagePlanets team for their third issue! There’s a lot to read, including my poem “The Nukekubi” from Tortured Willows and an all new story I wrote titled “Destroy With Love.” To access the magazine, create an account at and find all three issues to read for free.

#3 October 2021

Win a copy of MONSTRUM POETICA by Jezzy Wolfe with a signed bookplate. Winner will be drawn live on Halloween and posted here. 

To enter, simply leave a comment for Jezzy here.